RIP Ian McDonald of King Crimson and Foreigner, Dead at 75

Friday, February 11, 2022
American-based rock band Foreigner performs onstage at Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois, August 5, 1978. Pictured is Ian McDonald on guitar. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Ian McDonald, a co-founding member of both King Crimson and Foreigner, has died at the age of 75. A rep for McDonald shared that McDonald "passed away peacefully on February 9, 2022, in his home in New York City, surrounded by his family." According to McDonald's son on Facebook, cancer was the cause of death.

"All of us at Warner Music Group are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ian McDonald," shared Kevin Gore, President of Global Catalog, Recorded Music for Warner Music Group, in a press statement. "As a founding member of two of the most important bands in the history of Atlantic Records, King Crimson and Foreigner, Ian played an enormous role in the evolution of rock music in the 20th century. A gifted multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer, he was a major force in shaping both the emergence of progressive rock in the late-'60s and the impact of mainstream rock in the '70s. Soft-spoken and ever the gentleman, his music spoke volumes. He will be greatly missed by his fellow musicians and millions of fans across the globe."

McDonald's position as a co-founder of King Crimson has marked him as one of the key players in the development of prog-rock, playing both saxophone and keyboards on the band's legendary 1969 debut, In the Court of the Crimson King. Co-founding AOR heroes Foreigner with Mick Jones in the mid-'70s, McDonald performing with the band over their first three studio albums, all of which cracked the top 10 in the US: Foreigner, Double Vision, and Head Games. Also on his long list of achievements: playing on iconic 1971 T.Rex album, Electric Warrior.